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BJ's Wholesale Fourth-Quarter Profits Fall 77%

BJ's Wholesale Club , the No. 3 U.S. warehouse club operator, on Wednesday said fourth-quarter profit fell 77%, hurt by restructuring costs and disappointing holiday sales.

Shoppers are seen outside BJ's Wholesale Club in Stoneham, MassachusettsMassachussets.
Michael Dwyer
Shoppers are seen outside BJ's Wholesale Club in Stoneham, MassachusettsMassachussets.

Net income for the Natick, Massachusetts-based company fell to $11.9 million, or 18 cents a share, from $51.6 million, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding 44 cents in expenses for closing its ProFoods restaurant supplystores, asset impairment, pharmacy closing, severance and a credit card claimreserve, earnings totaled 62 cents per share in the latest period.

Sales rose 13.4% to $2.43 billion from $2.14 billion, while same-store sales rose 1.5%. Net sales results were based on 14 weeks of sales, compared with 13 weeks a year earlier.

Same-store sales, a closely watched measure of retail performance, track sales in stores open at least a year.

Analysts on average forecast profit of 66 cents a share on revenue of $2.42 billion, according to Thomson Financial.

During a conference call with analysts, BJ's said it expects earnings per share of $1.60 to $1.70 for its fiscal year ending Feb. 2, 2008.

Analysts, on average, are expecting full-year earnings of $1.64 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

For its fiscal first quarter, it expects earnings per share of 18 cents to 22 cents, while analysts are expecting earnings of 20 cents per share.

Separately, the company said February same-store sales rose 3%, helped by gasoline sales, which rose 0.9%.

Total sales for the four weeks ended March 3 grew 7.2% to $601.7 million, from $561.2 million a year ago.

Sales in February were strongest in Metro New York and mid-Atlantic regions and weakest in the Southeast region.

During the latest month, sales of lawn care, produce, soda and water, software, sporting goods and summer seasonal products were the strongest, while sales of DVDs, jewelry, residential furniture and toys were weaker.